No Judge who is corrupt, who condones corruption in others, can possibly remains on the Bench.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Teaching the Courts Their Alphabet

Teaching the Courts Their Alphabet
By: Karen DeLuca.Alexandria, Virginia

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

While campaigning, Bob McDonnell's "one new idea" was divestiture of the state liquor stores. Now, schools, social services, public safety, and state employee pensions are on the commonwealth's GPS. Virginia is for S's. Why not shift gears? Backpedal closer to the top of the alphabet, rather than fuel taxes and gun sales, and privatize the courts. Portions of their functions already are privatized -- for example, through the increased use of mediation. In many instances, a judge's signature is just a rubber-stamp of an out-of-court compromise or one party's position. With more legal issues being resolved the DIY way, there is less need for the traditional role of the judiciary, or for the pricey courthouses that garage them.
Or they could become self-funded, or the "public option" in a hybrid system, forced to upgrade the quality of their product to maintain traffic on the theory no one will pay for a lousy, accelerated job. This would mean parking the best, most experienced personnel in the lower courts, where decision-making is typically determinative. If litigants are satisfied below, such positioning could eliminate the need for some of the vast appellate bureaucracy -- more potential budget savings. Because here's the clunker we have now: There's the "avoidance canon," where judges either don't decide or rule on a ground which really doesn't resolve anything, but disposes of a matter to get it off their desk. Expensive and inconclusive for litigants who expect and deserve more than a drive on the road to nowhere.
Another major problem, at all levels, is law-clerk justice. Just out of school, a bunch of mostly 25-year-olds in training, making impactful decisions that their bosses blindly sign off on. As these rulings travel up the system, they are routinely rubber-stamped by more apprentices, who cover their peers' tracks in this self-interest network where everyone's paving the way for their next career move. A stop sign should be put to this extra-constitutional exercise of judicial power and payment of redundant salaries.
In a Virginia running on fumes, officials need to look past their blind spots to non-retread solutions. That includes the commonwealth's side street and back alley courts. It's as easy as A, B, See . . .
Karen DeLuca.


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